Late-inning grand slams sent Camanche and Northeast into a head-to-head battle in the Class 2A District 6 baseball semifinals.
TJ Runge snapped a 7-7 tie with his slam in the top half of the sixth inning to lead Camanche past Bellevue 11-9, then Seth Mommsen came through with the bases loaded in the seventh inning of the second game as host Northeast beat North Cedar 7-4 in a first-round district doubleheader Saturday. The Indians and Rebels will square off at 7 p.m. Tuesday in Goose Lake for a spot against either Monticello or Dyersville Beckman in Saturday’s district final.
“I’ve been in baseball for quite a while, and I haven’t seen anything quite like that,” Northeast coach Kyle Miller said of the Rebels’ come-from-behind win. “It couldn’t have happened to a better kid.”
North Cedar (12-20) had taken a 4-3 lead in the bottom of the sixth inning on solo home runs by Jacob Hay and Jordan Kintzel.
Junior pitcher Jordan Hay, who came in with a 3-1 record and 2.80 ERA, had the Knights within one inning of the victory after retiring the first two batters in the top of the seventh inning, and Northeast (16-17) had three consecutive freshmen coming to the plate.
But Nick Bailey, the No. 8 hitter, battled Hay for a walk, then Charlie Marcucci lined the first pitch he saw to right field for a single. The Rebels loaded the bases when Tevin Stoecker “fought off a lot of pitches and worked a 3-2 walk,” according to Miller.
That brought Mommsen, Northeast’s lone senior, to the plate. He drilled the first pitch he saw over the center-field fence.
“The Hay kid was really mowing us down — his curve was really biting — and I thought the best pitch (Mommsen) might see could be the first one,” Miller said. “I was hoping he’d get a fastball. I thought he’d get a fastball. He got a fastball and hit all of it. That’s a senior stepping up and not wanting his career to be over with.”
Camanche (15-11) got its big hit from its junior cleanup hitter to finish off a six-run sixth inning. Before Runge got to the plate, though, the rally was well on its way.
With his team down 7-5, Dalles Johnson started it with a single, and Luke Reppert followed with a walk. Taylor Grim tried to move both runners up with a bunt, but he placed it so well down the third-base line that it went for a single to load the bases. Brandon Jewell followed with a single that cut Bellevue’s lead to 7-6. Brady Grell followed with a high fly that popped out of the center fielder’s glove for an error that allowed Camanche to tie the score and keep the bases loaded.
Runge, who delivered a two-run homer in the first inning for a 3-0 lead, then came through again.
“He’s our number four-hole hitter and always seems to hit the ball hard,” Camanche coach Darryl Cochran said. He did it again, sending the ball over the left-field fence to erase the 7-7 tie. “It was a shot,” Cochran said.
Cochran said he wasn’t surprised by the high-scoring game.
“I knew they could put the ball in play and hit well, and I know how we can hit the ball,” he said.
Bret Boeckenstedt led Bellevue (14-19) with three hits, including a home run, and three runs batted in.
Both Cochran and Miller expect a tough contest Tuesday.
“I expect another battle,” Cochran said. “We beat them (5-4) at our place on a Brady Grell home run in the first game and then won the second game (20-7).
“They’ve been playing well toward end of season. It will be a good challenge for us.”
Miller said: “Camanche has as good a lineup as we’ll see. It’s going to be a good high school game.”
Whether they can top Saturday’s games, though, is another question.
“I don’t know if I can handle any more dramatics,” Miller said.
CAMANCHE 11, BELLEVUE 7
Camanche 301 106 0 — 11 12 2
Bellevue 002 051 1 — 9 12 1
Brett Johnson (4 ip, 6 h, 5 r, 3 er, 3 bb, 4 so), Brady Grell (W 6-1, 3 ip, 6 h, 4 r, 1 er, 2 bb, 3 so) and Jacob Klone; Robert Schroeder (1/3 ip, 3 h, 3 r, 3 er, 0 bb, 0 so), Bret Boeckenstedt (L, 5 ip, 8 h, 8 r, 6 er, 5 bb, 8 so), Peyton Wolter (1 2/3 ip, 1 h, 0 r, 0 bb, 1 so) and Wolter. Multiple hits — Camanche (Brett Johnson 2, Grell 2, TJ Runge 2, Taylor Grim 3); Bellevue (Cole Reeg 2, Br. Boeckenstedt 3). 2B — Camanche (B. Johnson, Grell, Cole Atkinson); Bellevue (Br. Boeckenstedt, R. Schroeder). HR — Camanche (B. Johnson, Runge 2); Bellevue (Br. Boeckenstedt, Zack Pitts). RBIs — Camanche (Brandon Jewell, B. Johnson, Grell 2, Runge 6, Grim); Bellevue (Br. Boeckenstedt 3, R. Schroeder, Pitts, Jake Schroeder 2, Alex Sieverding).
NORTHEAST 7, NORTH CEDAR 4
Northeast 003 000 4 — 7 6 0
North Cedar 101 002 0 — 4 6 2
Mitch Haferbier (W 7-1, 7 ip, 6 h, 4 r, 4 er, 2 bb, 12 so)) and DJ Fulton; Jordan Hay (L 3-2) and Charlie Cox. Multiple hits — Northeast (Seth Mommsen 2, Fulton 2); North Cedar (Jacob Hay 2). 2B — Northeast (Tevin Stoecker); North Cedar (Ja. Hay, Jacob Canfield). HR — Northeast (Mommsen); North Cedar (Jacob Hay, Jordan Kintzel). RBIs — Northeast (Mommsen 5, Stoecker 2); North Cedar (Jo. Hay, Ja. Hay, Jared Dewell, Kintzel).